No, unfollowing an abuser is not enough
I am not a big fan of sports. This is also not the kind of blog I usually post. But when my partner told me that a Manchester United player got accused of abuse and rape and what has happened since, I had to speak up.
Mason Greenwood was arrested by authorities on January 30th, 2022 after his (now ex) partner posted evidence on social media and claimed that he beat her up and raped her. He was released on bail, dropped by Manchester United and removed from their merch. The Daily Mail reported that some of his fellow players like Cristiano Ronaldo, David de Gea and Paul Pogba have stopped following him on social media.
I understand that it may have come as a big shock to the world and team, but this a very common issue. So common, that I know this wasn't the first time he did anything like that, it was just the first time she spoke up about it. Now, I know he has not been sentenced guilty and more actions are to be taken.
But still, how come no soccer players (or any sport player for that matter) is using their platform to speak up about domestic abuse? Unfollowing your mate is not enough. It's distancing yourself from the problem and pretending it doesn't exist.
I am angry because it is not the first time this has happened, it is only the most recent one. The case isn't dissimilar to that of Benjamin Mendy, who has been accused of seven counts of rape and sexual assault against five women between October 2020 and August 2021. Ryan Giggs, Wales manager and ex-Manchester United player, is also awaiting trial after he was accused of psychological abuse of his partner and attacking her sister (marca.com).
This IS the time to be talking about it because it's trending news. I don't care if he has not been found guilty yet. I want people to know that domestic violence, abuse and rape are common as fuck and that rates of domestic violence INCREASE during soccer matches because it's such a toxic environment.
I'll do the work for you, here are some statistics:
According to the The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States.
Estimates published by WHO indicate that globally about 1 in 3 (30%) of women worldwide have been subjected to either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.
Most of this violence is intimate partner violence. Worldwide, almost one third (27%) of women aged 15-49 years who have been in a relationship report that they have been subjected to some form of physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner.
1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the United States has been raped in their lifetime.
Violence rises during in January and May, and on Sundays, when families tend to spend more time together at home; Mother’s Day is the most violent day of the year.
In Colombia, cases of intimate-partner violence against women rose by 33 percent during the past two World Cups.
"A study in 2014 by academics at Lancaster University looked at the number of reports of abuse to a police force in the north-west of England during three football World Cups. They found that such reports increased by 26% when the national team won or drew, and by 38% when the team lost"
Speak up. Talk about statistics. You don't even have to mention his name. Just make it known. And in the meantime work on decreasing such toxic masculinity that runs so deep, only one professional soccer player has publicly come out as queer in the entire world. It is not a safe space. And even then it wouldn't be enough.